Name: Peggy Safranski Russell
AHS Name: Peggy Safranski
My name is Peggy (Safranski) Russell and I am currently living in Ojai, CA. with my husband, John Russell. After graduating from Alhambra High School, I went to Cal State LA where I enjoyed being a song leader there. Unfortunately, song leading and sorority did my grades in and I only went for two years with not a lot of success. In 1967 I married Greg Baird (fellow AHS64 classmate) and Greg was in the Army and stationed in Heidelberg, Germany so I went to live with him for 18 months until he finished his tour of duty. In 1971 we became parents of a son, Derek Baird. Greg and I remained married until 1973, living in Alhambra, at which time I became a single parent.
I worked at the same company for 50 years – Mr. Claude Miller of AHS recommended me for a clerical position at J and J Equipment Company and I remained at this company my entire life. The name was changed to Rusco, Inc. in 1975. In April 1981, I married John Russell, a graduate of AHS in 1955, and we moved to Altadena and lived there for 18 years. John has two children – Jenny, living in Washington D.C. married to Andy and has two of our grandchildren---Olivia, 12 yrs and Jackson, almost 8 yrs. Tim lives in Olympia, Washington and he and his partner have given us another granddaughter, Maddy who is just 2 ˝ years old. My son, Derek, is living in Cave Junction, Oregon and married a woman with seven children, however, he did not have children of his own. He is happily raising goats and chickens.
Life continues to be the best I can imagine. The only hiccups I can recall are having Breast Cancer in 1994 and having a horse fall on me in 2001.
Our lives were closely tied in to volunteering for the Huntington Hospital and the Pasadena Humane Society. John was President of the Humane Society Board and I was secretary and it lead to taking many wildlife rehab courses and becoming certified wildlife rescuers. In 2000 we moved to Ojai, CA with our menagerie of animals (some 400!). We were able to find 8 acres of flat land to house our critters and quickly became involved in the beautiful community we now call home. Both John and I continue to spend many hours volunteering for our local hospital, animal non-profits, Help of Ojai, the Ojai Music Festival, and the Santa Barbara Zoo, maintaining board positions and meeting lots of terrific people. We were both named “Living Treasures of Ojai”. (Better to be a living treasure rather than a buried one).
Cooking, baking, and our animals top the list of special interests for me and I have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Taste of Home, and even had a half hour TV show on Calling All Cooks and I still continue to enter baked goods at the Ventura County Fair each year.
Our travels aren’t extensive due to my fear of flying; however, we did get in trips to Africa, Galapagos, Taiwan, Scotland, England and Costa Rica. My bucket list still has on it a trip to Australia and New Zealand, but that will probably remain a “to do”.
As I look back on my four years at AHS, my best memory was working in the Student Bank with Mr. Benesh and being in Orchesis with Peggy Thomas and Cheryl Ortega.
One of the best parts of this reunion has been that I was finally able to reconnect with Peggy – I had lost touch with her and we have been able to spend time and visit, which I cherish.
My thanks and appreciation go to all those who have helped make this reunion happen.
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